Residential Building FAQs
Q. What permits do I need to build a home on my lot?
A. Visit the Community Development website here for information on the residential building process, including permits, applications and other information. For other questions, call the Community Development office at 479-268-4980.
Q. What is my parcel number, lot, block or subdivision?
A. To find a parcel number, you can visit Benton County’s GIS map site here, locate your property on the map and click on the parcel. For other information, please call Community Development Services at 479-268-4980.
Q. What is the zoning classification of my lot?
A. To view the city’s zoning map, visit the map on the Community Development website here and locate your property on the map.
Q. Is POA water available on my lot?
A. To find out if POA water is available on your lot, call the POA Water Department at 479-855-8000.
Q. Is sewer available on my lot?
A. Properties currently eligible for sewer connection are listed on the city’s website here. For additional sewer connection information contact Village Wastewater at 479-855-7613.
Q. What is the smallest lot I can build on?
A. There are many factors and outside agency requirements to consider, including available utilities, septic or sewer connection, house size, building setbacks, lot elevation, minimum house size as determined on the subdivision plat, etc. If on septic, we encourage you to begin by contacting the Benton County Health Department (479-986-1300) to determine the minimum area required for the septic system in relation to the size of house you plan to build.
Q. What is the minimum square footage allowed for a home built on my lot?
A. If a septic system is required, the lot size, how the soil percolates and the proposed size of house are all considered in determining minimum square footage. A house size could be limited based off of the space required for the septic field. Typically, a bigger house requires more lateral lines. Each subdivision plat has set minimum square footages for all platted lots in Bella Vista. For more exact information, call the Community Development office at 479-268-4980.
Q. What is the difference between the restrictions the city enforces and the ones the ACC enforces?
A. The city enforces city ordinances, which are passed by the City Council, and state building codes for building safety. The ACC enforces rules set in the original POA covenants, and typically concern aesthetics of a home or property.
Q. What are the minimum setback requirements?
A. For residential lots, required setbacks (unless otherwise stated on the subdivision plat) are: a minimum of a 20-foot front setback, a minimum of a 15-foot side setback if parallel to street right-of-way lines, a 10-foot setback on side property lines, a 15-foot rear setback, and a 25-foot setback from the water’s edge for parcels with access to bodies of water.
Q. What is the time limit to build on a residential property?
A. Permits are valid for 180 days. Each scheduled inspection will extend a permit for 180 days.
Q. Are we allowed to use/utilize an RV while the construction is ongoing?
A. No, RV’s are not permitted in residential areas, unless FULLY screened from public view (in a garage or fully screened behind a fence. The maximum fence height is 8’ in Bella Vista).
Q. Are there any records of developer liens?
A. Verify this with Benton County Land Records by calling 479-271-1017.
Q. Are there any records of percolation tests? If so, did these properties pass and are they capable of having septic systems?
A. Benton County Health Department handles permitting for septic systems – 479-986-1300. If a percolation test has been done, they would have the records.
Q. Are there any moratoriums in building?
A. No, however, the Building Official can place a stop work order on construction, if needed, to bring a project into compliance with ordinances and building codes.
Q. Are properties required to connect to public water and sewer?
A. The water is privately owned by the Bella Vista POA (479-855-5060), which requires connection for all properties within the POA boundaries. Sewer is also privately owned by Village Wastewater (479-855-7613). Connection to sewer is required by city ordinance, if available. If sewer is not available, a septic system would be required.
Q. How do I know if there any unpaid POA dues for a property?
A. Contact the Bella Vista POA at 479-855-8000 to verify.
Q. How much is the POA annual fee?
A. Effective March 1, 2020, unimproved lot owners pay $16 per month and improved lot owners pay $37 per month. Unimproved lots do not have a water meter.
Q. I’m building a new house on an unpaved street with no other homes. Will the city pave my street?
A. When the building of the home is substantially complete, the city will do road improvements, which include any grading needed and usually an application of base rock. Paving is done by contractors during the city’s annual street resurfacing program, and only if the home is within 150 feet from the last paved edge of road. We typically add these streets to the following year’s schedule, based on the allowed budget for that year. However, if the home is not within 150 feet of the last paved edge of road, that road will be maintained as a gravel road.
Q. Who maintains the center island on a cul-de-sac street?
A. The city does not maintain the center island of a cul-de-sac street, as it is typically part of the Bella Vista POA common property, which is private property. We have seen some residents in some neighborhoods “adopt” these islands and maintain them, although the city does not have the authority to grant permission to do so.
Q. Who maintains the culvert under my driveway?
A. Residents are responsible for maintaining the culverts beneath their driveways and keeping them clear of buildup and debris so that water can flow through freely.
Q. Who maintains the apron on my driveway?
A. Residents are responsible for maintaining the aprons of their driveways. A permit is not required to repair/maintain the apron. However, there are requirements on the type of materials that can be used for the apron. Contact Community Development at 479-268-4980 for questions.
Q. Can I build a tiny home in Bella Vista?
A. Most of the area known as Old Bella Vista – which is the SPR zone from Sunset Drive to Lookout Drive west of US 71 across from Lake Bella Vista – would allow a tiny home to be built. However, tiny homes that are moved in, like a manufactured home, would only be allowed in a R-MH zone. This zone is currently only located in the area of Robin Road off Forest Hills Blvd.
Q. Can I build a pool in my backyard?
A. For regulations on building a pool, please see the permit submittal checklist on page 2 of our Miscellaneous Application, found here. In addition to this checklist, the pool must be a minimum of 10 feet away from the septic field, if applicable, and a licensed electrician must pull an electrical permit if needed, depending on the type of pool being built.